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Jimmy Fallon on Monday poked fun at HBO Max after the streamer added another social context warning on a film, this time the Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles.
In the bit, The Tonight Show host played Clyde Darwell of the faux Cherished Cinema Classics channel and introduced the fake 1946 film Passion on the Prairie, which he said was a beloved picture and box office success. But then came the list of issues.
“It’s worth noting this film is a product of its time,” Fallon’s Darwell said, mirroring the intro for Blazing Saddles and Gone With the Wind on HBO Max. “By today’s standards, it contains outdated, insensitive portrayals of African Americans. But keeping that in mind, we hope you can look past those flaws and enjoy this American classic — which I should also note is offensive to Native Americans, Asain Americans, Lebanese Americans, the Inuit and Estonian Americans.”
Fallon’s Darwell continued to try and start the film but had to stop himself multiple times to bring up other matters that could be upsetting to viewers.
“There is a graphic whale hunt midway through the film and what some may consider a gratuitous kicking of a beagle,” he noted. Finally giving up, the Cherished Cinema Classics host showed the film minus any offensive material, which last a few seconds before the end credits rolled.
In reality, HBO Max recently added a “proper social context” intro to Blazing Saddles, which is presented by TCM host and University of Chicago cinema and media studies professor Jacqueline Stewart. She also did the intro for Gone With the Wind.
A little more than three-minutes long, Stewart’s intro puts the bigotry and racist language in context, the host saying, “as the storyline implies the issue of race is front and center in Blazing Saddles. And racist language and attitudes pervade the film. But those attitudes are espoused by characters who are portrayed here as explicitly small-minded, ignorant bigots. The real, and much more enlightened perspective, is provided by the main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.”
Gone with the Wind was pulled from HBO Max not long after the streaming service was introduced due to outcry over its outdated and racist story and themes. The 1939 war classic returned in June with additional context and a disclaimer attached.
Watch Fallon’s sketch below.
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